News Story

Detroit Police Salaries Modest, But Not Peanuts

With overtime, average front-line officer earned $59,511

Uniformed rank-and-file officers employed by the Detroit Police Department earned an average of $59,511 in 2014-15, which is more than twice the amount a recent TV report stated as the starting salary for the officers.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig recently told WWJ TV that he thinks officers patrolling the city’s streets should be paid more. But the only amount mentioned in the story was a starting salary of $28,000.

Michigan Capitol Confidential analyzed Detroit Police pay levels found in salary and contract information received in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The lowest pay levels are in the “police officer” category, and the analysis focused on those who worked at least 2,000 hours during the 2014-15 fiscal year.

With overtime, the average pay for the 1,406 individuals in the category of "police officers" was $59,511. In most cases, overtime comprises a significant part of an officer's compensation.

According to the union contract between the department and the Detroit Police Officers Association, which runs from October 2014 through June 2019, salaries start at $29,352. But when overtime is added, a rookie police officer can collect much more. The top salary in the union pay scale for a police officer is $56,927, which doesn't include overtime or other salary incentives.

Officers are given a choice of taking overtime in salary or as compensation time (extra time off from work).

Chief Craig told WWJ that he feared Detroit’s best officers were going to other cities to make more money.

“But I’m also concerned about retention — retention of our best,” he said. “Because I’m tired of hearing the stories about some of the smaller municipalities, like Westland and Dearborn Heights, hiring some of our best.”

According to the data released by the department to Michigan Capitol Confidential, the lowest amount paid to any Detroit police officer who worked at least 2,000 hours was $26,849. That number is below the union contract’s starting salary, but it could be explained as the pay of a full-time officer who started in the middle of the fiscal year or that of a part-timer who collected overtime. Two police officers made $100,000-plus. The highest paid police officer in the city made $107,602, and another officer made $101,874.

Chief Craig is paid the department’s highest annual salary, $236,257.


See also:

Detroit Police Union Official Says Recent Cuts Made Streets Unsafe, But Police and Fire Department Salaries Increased

How Much Has the Detroit Police Force Really Been Cut?